Daniel Hurley billed taxpayers for past election-related expenses

Daniel Hurley is the candidate for the Liberal Party of Canada in Winnipeg Centre.

From Hurley’s biography,

Dan Hurley also has extensive parliamentary and government experience, previously serving as chief of staff to the Hon. Stephane Dion, while he was Canada’s Environment Minister and as President of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. During that time, Dan used his organizational and diplomatic skills to support Stephane Dion’s efforts to bring the Kyoto Protocol into force and to move the international community forward on climate change.

During the last election, Hurley as Dion’s chief of staff, expensed a trip to Edmonton that he took with the now current Liberal leader. The problem is that he went on this trip during an election, he billed it to the taxpayer and listed the purpose of the trip as “travel with Minister for electoral campaign”.

The expenses are listed on Environment Canada’s proactive disclosure website:

Hurley billed $1,161 for flights, $219.20 for accommodations and $166.60 for meals and incidentals for a total of $1,547.56 to travel with Dion during the past federal election between December 15-17, 2005.

The Edmonton Journal states,

“Stephane Dion, the federal environment minister, spent a long Friday in Edmonton beating the drum for local Liberal candidates.” (December 17, 2005)

According to section 6.1.3 of Treasury Board Guidelines for Minister’s Offices,

Expenditures incurred by the chief of staff should be authorized by the minister or the minister’s senior delegate for financial matters.

So, this raises a few questions for Stephane Dion:

Since Dion personally signed off on Hurley’s expenses for accompanying him during an election campaign for “travel with Minister for electoral campaign”, does Mr. Dion think that it’s acceptable for the taxpayer to foot the bill for Liberal election-related expenses?

Will Dion, Hurley or the Liberal Party of Canada refund the Canadian taxpayer $1547.56 with interest?

Will Hurley be asked to step down as the Liberal candidate in Winnipeg Centre?

We’ve seen taxpayer dollars going to fund Liberal campaigns before, is this more of the same from the Liberal Party?

ADDITIONAL THOUGHTS: Of course, staff are allowed to accompany a minister for ministry-related business and file expenses — even during an election campaign — so long as they are doing government work. However, we must take Daniel Hurley’s disclosure at face value when he states that he traveled with Dion “for electoral campaign“. Hurley either made a terrible mistake by filing expenses to the taxpayer for an election campaign or he improperly worded his expense form.